We can’t begin to comprehend how it must feel to carry the weight of an entire country on your shoulders. To ensure the safety of every citizen, no matter how old or young, rich or poor. The decisions made by Cyril over the past few weeks can’t be easy. Being president doesn’t make you a superhuman, it just makes you a human with super responsibilities. Instead of making fun of the man who is the deciding factor for our country, take a moment and try to understand what this man is currently going through. He has made some excellent decisions and for that we admire him.
- All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, financial and payment services – including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations and healthcare providers.
- People exempted from the lock down were essential personnel which included health workers, security services and other persons necessary for the response to the pandemic and those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunication services, laboratory services and the provision of medical and hygiene products.
- Individuals would not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant.
- Temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards will be identified for homeless people. Sites were also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who could not self-isolate at home.
- Provision will be made for essential transport services to continue, including transport from essential staff and for patients who need to be managed elsewhere.
- South African citizens and residents arriving from high-risk countries will automatically be placed under quarantine for 14 days.
- Non-South Africans arriving on flights from high-risk countries identified a week ago will be turned back.
- International flights to Lanseria Airport will be temporarily suspended.
- International travelers who arrived in South Africa after 9 March 220 from high-risk countries will be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day period of quarantine.
What does this mean for our economy?
Although we have seen the global economy take an huge knock since the spread of the Virus, it is important to realize that although the markets may be extremely volatile over the next few months, the pandemic has been priced in and further drops are unlikely. This therefore gives opportunity for investors to invest into a cheap market and wait until the pandemic has phased out and the market return to normal.
Ramaphosa also announced measures that would mitigate the impact of the virus on the local economy: from mild tax breaks, to a solidarity fund and increased support for small businesses, the informal sector and vulnerable workers.
He said the government has set up a Solidarity Fund that will pool funds from government, business and private individuals. Government has already provided R150 million in seed funding, while the private sector has pledged to make donations in the coming weeks.
“The fund will focus efforts to combat the spread of the virus, help us to track the spread, care for those who are ill and support those whose lives are disrupted,” said the Ramaphosa.
The president applauded the Rupert and Oppenheimer families for assisting small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic with R1 billion each. Additional measures to assist small and medium businesses include using the reserves in the Unemployment Insurance Fund system to support workers in the businesses whose companies cannot provide them with support.
With that being said, it is important to look after ourselves and others around us. We do not know how long this may last, however the decisions made by our ministers along with a number of private leaders will hopefully flatten the curve and we will be running as a full functioning country soon.